On Shame

Dear Readers,

Fall is here!


Hubs has been retired for three days, and it seems very normal for hm to be here. It’s really nice in the morning because he brings me coffee! 

Yesterday he washed all the windows!
(Oh look! I can see the street now! LOL)

Recovery meetings can be intense, as people share some hard things in life. 
I am often humbled at how many men open up about some past things that hurt them so much.

Last week, I came home questioning if I wanted to keep going to my home group, as I sometimes feel too perky. 
This week, I told them I hope I wasn’t too perky, but I am hope I am spreading the message that there is joy in recovery. I also said I get extra animated after a couple cups of coffee! 
No one said I should be quieter, so I am glad I spoke up! 
Even some guys who always seem gruff, said they were happy I was optimistic, so I will carry on being Wendy!

I have noticed that many on-line friends are struggling with shame, and therefore struggling with staying sober. 

Hubs found these wild grapes!

Many writers have done a beautiful job on defining the differences between shame and guilt. I learned the most from Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection.

I had to move through feelings of shame when I humiliated myself in public. Once I showed up very drunk at my yoga studio, and they had to take away my car keys and call hubs. I was crying and out of control, the teachers had to calm me down, and it was a nightmare. Other yoga people saw me as they were coming into class.

It took all of my strength, to go back to the studio two days later and apologize to everyone who had helped me, and I also apologized to the manager. 

There were several other times I felt so much shame about something I did while drunk. 

First and foremost, I had to learn the difference between shame and guilt. Feeling guilty about driving drunk is okay, because it keeps me from driving that way again. 
But the feeling of shame I felt, because I was drunk in a public setting, was not helpful to my recovery. 

I then had to forgive myself. This I learned by reading all I could about self-compassion.
Yes, I had done some stupid things while drunk. 
Yes, I had hurt my husband. But that only made me human. I was a good person who was in the hold of addiction. 
Yes, I made amends to people. 

Hubs and I on a night out!

Yes, I read and learned how to embrace all the things I used to hate about myself. 
Yes, I let time pass.
Yes, I help other people by volunteering.
Yes, I learned lessons from my mistakes, and worked hard to do better.

The shame lifted, and although I can feel it a bit if I think too long on those times, I know I am okay. 

Hold yourself with the love you would give a friend, a loved one, a child.
Sometimes, I put my hand on my heart, and repeat the following:

I love you.
I am sorry you are suffering.

With Coffee and Clean Windows,
On Day 1490, 

Wendy

20 thoughts on “On Shame

  1. I absolutely love this post! Because I'm right there, beating myself up for not staying 100% true to beating this addiction, which brings all kinds of ugly, past memories of my drinking mischiefs to mind. I'm going to print this out and keep in my journal, as it speaks to me. Thank you for sharing this today. xo, ll

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  2. I like your perkiness! And boy we can all relate to your post-I think what is so outstanding is you apologized and stood up to your fault instead of pushing it down.xoxo Daisy

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  3. I shudder thinking back. Even when I wasn't drunk but just who I was with alcohol in my life. Shame and guilt are both unproductive and counter productive- unless they trigger us to \”own\” our behavior (recognizing the pride within), make amends and move on. But shame can also have nothing to with our behavior- often we were \”shamed\” as a single mom family growing up in the 50's and 60's. It's taken years to heal but even now I can recognize those terrible feelings inside of me. Compassion for myself is the first step to keep feelings from totally overwhelming me. Great post Wendy.

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  4. Wonderful and uplifting post! I learn so much from you. Now going into my ninth month (sober not pregnant lol) and had never considered compassion for myself. So thank you, Wendy! Oh and the retirement thingy just keeps getting better and better. 🙂 x

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  5. A brilliant post (as always) that really spoke to me. My last drunken episode was after I had drunk a mixture of wine and vodka (hidden in my wardrobe). I spoke to my mother via facetime for 20 minutes, later I got up when my husband got in from work and wet myself . Then I whacked myself off my bedroom wall. My husband and younger daughter has the displeasure of cleaning me up and my husband found my vodka stash. I don't remember a thing about it. Nothing. For a long time I felt an awful shame about this. As time goes on though, you do realise that you can't beat yourself up forever about it and you have to move on. Now, when I think back to that time, I make myself think \”That was then, this is now. Now I am sober and it will never happen again.\”.

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  6. Thank you for sharing that part of your story. It was heartbreaking to read, because I had similar times. Now though, understand we what addiction does to us. We rose up and met the challenges and here we are, as we were meant to be. Hugs! xo

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  7. Always love your honesty, Wendy. So glad you and the husband have more time together. Sounds like you’re really taking advantage of it already. People tell me I can be pretty tough for myself too. But I also find that getting tough with myself is a great way to turn certain behaviors around. I’m in the middle of something like that right now is a new sponsor of mine.

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